Catalina Island Travel Guide

a view from Catalina Island

Because it’s one of LA’s best “hidden” gems, IMO…

two women taking a selfie as they travel to Catalina Island

the ferry to Catalina Island

So, first off, I am mortified.  I actually “published” this post almost a year ago but somehow accidentally published it as a private post so literally only I could see it. Wow – you’d think I was new here, right? 

Anywho, I declared my love for Catalina Island about 11 years ago when a few friends and I did a little glamping on the island.  This time? This time I went full luxury and I truly can’t recommend visiting the island enough, especially if you already live in LA and want a fun weekend trip.  It’s a short ferry ride (photo above!) from Long Beach (closest port from LA) to Avalon, and it’s honestly so much fun/worth the trip!

P.S.- you can read more of my travel guides and blog posts about travel HERE.


Catalina Island Travel Guide

{ STAY }

hotel atwater in Catalina Island

Hotel Atwater

The Catalina Island Company set us (me and my friend Devon!) up at Hotel Atwater and we were SO happy.  First of all, the location is perfection; you’re only about one block to the main restaurant/bar area/beach, yet the hotel is absolutely gorgeous and feels like a renovated and modern version of a classic, almost old time-y, hotel.

Full disclosure, I received one night free at Hotel Atwater along with a few comped activities in exchange for my honest review of the experience.  

Mt Ada

I haven’t stayed at this gorgeous hotel, but I couldn’t help but notice the hotel (it looks like a resort) when we were riding around in golf carts.  Mt Ada is absolutely stunning and is definitely the fanciest hotel on the island.  Plus, the VIEWS.  My god.


Now, I know camping isn’t for everyone BUT my friends and I really did have a blast when we camped on Catalina.  We were able to rent a platform tent, supplies, etc.  I’d definitely love to do this again sometime.

{ EAT }

oysters served in one of the restaurants in Catalina Island

Bluewater Avalon

The oysters from the photo above were from our amazing dinner at Bluewater Avalon.  This restaurant is located right on the water, so you get amazing views along with tons of delish seafood.

The Naughty Fox

We stopped at The Naughty Fox right after we got off the ferry cause we were starving for lunch and also dying for a cocktail.  Super cute and casual.  Get the shrimp bowl.

Steve’s Steakhouse & Seafood

This steak and seafood restaurant is right on the main strip and has a gorgeous view of the beach.  We loved the food and would definitely go again.

The Lobster Trap

I wanted to go to The Lobster Trap, a casual locals spot, for our last meal before leaving the island and I am soooo glad we did.  The food is amazing – I got the swordfish and a baked potato and walked out very happy.

{ DO }

people parasailing in Catalina Island


Devon and I thought it would be fun to parasail over the island and, as long as you’re not afraid of heights, I definitely recommend this!



Golf carts

You can rent golf carts from a few places right by the ferry and I highly recommend doing so.  It’s a great way to see the whole island and, FYI, most people drive golf carts on the island, even the locals.  We were able to go up to a bunch of scenic overlooks thanks to our little golf cart expedition – so many beautiful views that all scream Amalfi Coast.

person holding a drink while in Catalina Island

Descanso Beach Club

It gives European beach club vibes and I love it.  Get some drinks, hang out at the tables or in the sand.  No explanation necessary.

Mini golf

Who doesn’t love some mini golf?!  According to the website, this course is considered by mini-golf enthusiasts to be one of the most unique courses in the world with its challenging 18-hole layout.  We brought drinks and had a blast.

person enjoying a zipline activity


My first ever ziplining experience was in Catalina back in 2011 (pictured above) and it’s truly just so much fun.  It’s a two-hour activity and you’ll be 600 feet above the ground souring through the Catalina Island foliage 🙂  Again, as long as heights aren’t an issue for you, definitely do the zipline tour on Catalina!


The main street area by the beach has TONS of super cute shops.  We stopped in a few and I, of course, had to grab up some locally made beauty products like this Buffalo Milk (a thing on Catalina) Body Butter.


Walking around

Devon and I spent a lot of time walking around by the beach and doing some people watching.  If you have the time, I definitely recommend walking up and down where the restaurants and bars are, as well as down to the old Casino (hot tip: it’s no longer an active casino.  We were disappointed. Ha).

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